If Sonny Bono weren't dead, I'd kill him

By Megan McArdle

If you had any question as to whether the copyright extension was a travesty, here's a gem I came across while looking for some music to stick in a podcast:

Sound Recording Rule of Thumb:
There are NO sound recordings in the Public Domain in the USA.

Records, cassettes, CD's, and other music recordings come under a general category called Sound Recordings or Phonorecords. The publication of Sheet Music placed a song or musical work under copyright protection. Sound recordings, however, were protected by a hodge-podge tangle of state laws, but were not covered under Federal copyright law. It was even determined that there was no federal criteria to actually "publish" a sound recording. This was fixed with the 1972 US copyright act which officially "published" all sound recordings in existence on February 15, 1972, and 75 years of copyright protection was enacted for essentially every sound recording created in 1972 or earlier. (1972 + 75 years = 2047). The Sony Bono Act of 1998 extended all copyright protection an additional 20 years. Therefore, the earliest that copyright protection will expire for any sounding recording in the USA is 2067 (2047 + 20 years = 2067).

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2007/09/if-sonny-bono-weren-apos-t-dead-i-apos-d-kill-him/1967/